Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Interesting news from Tonga

from w
I read with interest that Tonga now has a 'commoner' Prime Minister, a former activist, so times are changing eh.  From Fiji One.

Akilisi Pohiva Tonga’s new PM

eight_col__U__Akilisi_PohivaTonga’s parliamentarians have elected the veteran democracy campaigner, Akilisi Pohiva, as the country’s new prime minister.
The vote was 15 in favour of Mr Pohiva to the 11 garnered by the former deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu, an independent MP.
It is the end of an election cycle that began nearly five weeks ago with Tonga’s second elections under a more democratic system.
Those reforms had been advocated by Mr Pohiva since he began working as a teacher and broadcaster in the 1970s.
He has been the longest serving elected MP, first coming into the House in 1987.
Mr Pohiva has often been at odds with the Tongan establishment, having been jailed on several occasions and losing jobs because of his political views.
But today’s vote indicates he got support from outside his Democratic Party, which has just 10 seats in the 26 member House.
- See more at:

'Akilisi Pohiva, Tonga's new Prime Minister

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
‘Akilisi Pohiva with Samiu Vaipulu outside Parliament House, 29 December
‘Akilisi Pohiva was declared Tonga’s new Prime Minister this afternoon by the Interim Speaker of the Tongan Parliament Lord Tupou.
‘Akilisi won the Prime Ministerial election with a vote of 15-11 from the other nominee, Samiu Vaipulu (the former Deputy Prime Minister).
‘Akilisi becomes the first commoner to be elected as the Prime Minister of Tonga under Tonga’s new system of government that was introduced in 2010.
Following the election of the Prime Minister the House also elected the former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano as the new Speaker of the Tongan Parliament, with Lord Tu’i’afitu (the former Minister of Health) as the Deputy Speaker.
Again the vote was 15-11 for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
The next big task for the elected Prime Minister is to select a Deputy Prime Minister and 12 Memembers of his Cabinet.
A new Tongan government should be in place by the New Year.
and from Australian media;

Akilisi Pohiva was instrumental in the push to reduce the power of the monarchy in Tonga, which ruled until 2010.

A Tongan politician who has previously been jailed for his efforts to reduce the power of monarchy in the kingdom has become the country's first commoner to be elected prime minister.
Akhilisi Pohiva defeated former deputy prime minister Samiu Vaipulu 15 to 11 in a secret ballot in the capital Nuku'alofa.
Mr Pohiva was instrumental in the push to reduce the powers of the king.
Local journalist Fatai Fainga'a said he appeared to be a popular choice.
"I can tell the majority of the public were very excited with the results," she said.
"The result has been submitted to his majesty King Tupou VI and I do believe he was happy with it, despite that fact that Akilisi has a history of always opposing the royal family."
Mr Pohiva was first elected in 1987 and is the longest serving MP in the Tongan parliament.
He was jailed in 1996 for contempt of parliament and was charged with sedition in the wake of the 2006 pro-democracy riots in Nuku'alofa.
Mr Pohiva was one of only five people's representatives to keep their seats at last month's election, which saw 12 representatives and one noble dumped by voters.
Nine members of Tonga's 26-seat parliament are chosen solely by the 33 members of the country's nobility.
The other 17 seats are elected by the people and Mr Pohiva's Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands controls nine of those seats.
Ms Fainga'a said Mr Pohiva used his first speech to appeal to the nobles to cooperate in further reforms.
"He also called on the noble representatives to parliament for more cooperation in order to move Tonga forward for more democratic government," she said.
"This is a huge step forward for that democracy - him being prime minister."
Last year, Mr Pohiva's party attempted to push more political reforms including direct election of the prime minister and allowing the public to vote for the nine noble seats.
November's election was only the second in which Tongan commoners have been able to elect the majority of MPs.
Prior to the election in 2010, the king held the power to appoint the cabinet.
Former prime minister Fred Sevele, who was also a commoner, was appointed by the king, but Mr Pohiva is the first elected to the role.

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